ITN wins ITV News contract
ITN today secured the future of its most profitable news service when it beat rival consortium Channel 3 News to the lucrative ITV News contract, writes Dominic Timms.
After a three-hour meeting this afternoon (Wednesday) ITV confirmed that it would now enter a period of exclusive negotiations with ITN that are expected to last until the end of October. It is understood that as part of its winning bid, ITN agreed to cut around £10 million from the annual costs of supplying ITV News.
'ITV Network confirms that the ITV Licencees Group has today selected ITN as preferred bidder for the ITV News contract commencing January 2003. ITV Network and ITN will now begin exclusive negotiations with a view to reaching contractual terms,' ITV said in a statement.
ITN chief executive Stuart Purvis said the win reflected the 'quality of our news provision and the value for money of the ITN tender.'
Channel 3 News, a consortium of companies that includes BSkyB, Chrysalis, Bloomberg and CBS, said it was disappointed with the results, but would be examining 'closely' the reasons behind ITV's decision. Channel 3 is understood to have bid an offer of around £32 million compared to ITN's bid of around £36 million.
'We are naturally disappointed by today's decision to negotiate exclusively with ITN for a month. We believed -and still do - that our proposals would give ITV a high quality service at excellent value for money, to the benefit of viewers, advertisers and shareholders. We remain ready to talk further to ITV about our proposal whenever they wish,' said consortium chairman Richard Huntingford.
'We will, of course, look closely at ITV's reasons for choosing ITN's proposal as a basis for further negotiation,' he added.
Both bidders said they would abide by confidentiality clauses and declined to comment on the value of the bids until a final decisions was made.
I think we all know that ITN is only the preferred bidder, don't we?